SPEEDCARGO, Güdel partner to bring intelligent robotic automation to airfreight, logistics
Through this partnership, Güdel brings in know-how in intralogistics and material handling, while SPEEDCARGO brings two decades of experience and know-how in computer vision, robot control, AI, and cloud technology
SPEEDCARGO Technologies Pte. Ltd., from Singapore, has announced its collaboration with Güdel to bring to market their common vision of intelligent robotic automation to the complex domain of airfreight. The past decade has seen many robotic automation efforts in the logistics industry, however, these efforts have been limited to domains where the payload is cuboidal in shape, is SKU based, is lighter than 50 kgs, and mainly comprising of low-value goods.
When it comes to airfreight, operations happen in a high-mix, high-volume, and very-high-payload scenario. Each piece of cargo can weigh anywhere between 1kg and up to 3 tonnes and they may come in any size and shape and may also include high-value goods. Additionally, airfreight requires extremely safe and secure handling, especially for dangerous goods, perishables, and pharma.
Solving automated handling for airfreight requires major technological advancements in computer vision, A.I, advanced motion planning, combinatorial optimization, advanced gripper design, and sensor fusion-based low-level robot control.
In 2018, SPEEDCARGO demonstrated its intelligent robotics capability to automatically build and break down a full freighter ULD with high-mix high-volume, and very-high-payload cargo. The technology developed involved next-generation robotics, computer vision, and A.I. software from SPEEDCARGO, Singapore, and the most advanced robotics gantry system from Güdel in Switzerland. As a result of positive commercial feedback from key airlines and ground handlers, SPEEDCARGO and Güdel have joined forces towards developing the world's first robotic end-to-end material handling solutions for airfreight industry.
Through this partnership, Güdel, a Swiss manufacturer of high-precision machine components and a provider of sophisticated automation solutions, brings knowhow in intralogistics and material handling, while SPEEDCARGO, a Singapore-based technology company with roots at TUMCREATE (A research collaboration between The Technical University of Munich, Germany and the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) and supported initially by the National Research Foundation (Prime Minister's Office) and Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore, brings two decades of experience and know-how in computer vision, robot control, AI and cloud technology.
The synergy between sophisticated motion technology and advanced cognitive software allows the partners a strong competitive first mover advantage in achieving the challenging goal of automating complex end-to-end material handling in air freight.
The introduction of cognitive robotics technologies will result in lower costs, higher throughputs, improved safety, enhanced security, and future-proof the industry by lowering the dependence on labour, especially given the acute scarcity of blue-collar in the current operations which are highly manual, labour intensive and are exposed to several safety risks. This technology injection will result in upskilling of the current blue-collar labour and consistency in operations and better ensure adherence to safety norms.
SPEEDCARGO is already active in the airfreight industry and has commercially deployed its solutions with multiple airlines and ground handlers. Its three modular products: CARGO EYE, CARGO MIND, and CARGO ARM, form a suite of solutions using intelligent systems that provide accurate dimensioning, digitization of cargo, planning & optimizing of operations that enable automation for the stakeholders in the logistics value chain. The collaboration with Güdel will enable SPEEDCARGO to scale its CARGO ARM's capabilities beyond ULD build-up/breakdown to complete material handling (from truck dock to airside).
This will enable ground handlers to let go of traditional and legacy systems like ASRS which are heavy in investments and real estate. Covid-19 has bought to the fore the importance of cargo for airlines and the challenges of operating in an environment that is highly manual. Post Covid-19 as markets open up, ground handlers continue to face challenges in hiring and training personnel to manage the complex processes required to ensure cargo is built up and carried safely on flights. The inescapable solution to these challenges is automation.
"Migrating to an automated environment requires a rethink of current norms and business models, and we see the leaders in the space already thinking on how to make this transition, by deploying SPEEDCARGO's technologies for digitisation and optimization these will become key enablers to automating the handling process," said Dr. Krishna Kumar Nallur, CEO of SPEEDCARGO
"Through this collaboration, we are well positioned to bring in a plethora of bleeding edge automation technologies to the airfreight industry. We will inject true Industry 4.0 capabilities by harnessing Nextgen standards such as OPC-UA, IoT, and 5G combined with advanced robotics software" said Dr. Suraj Nair, Founder, and CTO of SPEEDCARGO.
"Automation will keep the world busy for a long time. This is due to rising wages on the one hand and a shortage of labor on the other. In the area of pick and place applications paired with artificial intelligence, great potentials lie ahead. We are proud to master these challenges together with SPEEDCARGO" says Prof. Dr. Hans Gut, CEO of Güdel Group.